ABTA Alumni Research Network

The ABTA Alumni Research Network (AARN) is a network of brain tumor researchers that have been funded by the ABTA. The purpose of the AARN is to support the ABTA’s mission to advance the understanding and treatment of brain tumors by fostering excellence in brain tumor research through professional development, communications, education, training and collaboration.

LinkedIn Group

AARN members are able to communicate and share their news and experiences throughout the year in a closed LinkedIn group. If you are an active AARN member, feel free to join!

Engagement with ABTA Community

Members are invited to speak at our events, to speak on behalf of the ABTA through our Speaker’s Bureau, to review ABTA publications, and to serve on review committees for ABTA grant applications.
  • William Flavahan, PhD (Basic Research Fellowship, 2015) shared his experiences in brain tumor research with donors interested in research for our fall 2017 fundraising campaign.
  • Josh Neman, PhD (Discovery Grant, 2016) worked with university officials and ABTA events staff to have the BT5K Los Angeles hosted on the University of Southern California campus.
  • Milan Chheda, MD (Basic Research Fellowship, 2008) helped the ABTA programs team to update the brochure on Chemotherapy.
  • Lan-Hoang Minh, PhD (Basic Research Fellowship, 2016) spoke about her research and the importance of research funding at the BT5K in Tampa Bay in 2017.
  • Betty Kim, MD, PhD (Discovery Grant, 2014) reviewed updates for the Glioblastoma information for the ABTA website.
  • Priscilla Brastianos, MD (Basic Research Fellowship, 2012) spoke at an ABTA sponsored session on Brain Metastases at the Society for Neuro-Oncology meeting in 2016.

Annual Meeting

Members participate in a two and a half day annual meeting, where they have the opportunity to network, share research findings, provide or acquire resources, learn grant writing tips and tricks and hear about leadership and management skills that will help them to continue to advance the brain tumor research field.

Quotes about the meeting

“I came out with advice on projects, new collaborations, and immensely useful career advice. Can’t get more valuable than that in only 2 and half days!”

“It is different from other meeting. I felt like everybody is really committed to achieve the final goal of finding a cure for brain tumors.”

“It’s nice to network among other brain tumor researchers, and there is a level of trust knowing we are all ABTA grantees.”

2019 AARN Meeting Co-Chairs

View photos from the 2018 meeting

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Mindee Plugues


Mindee J. Plugues, of Los Angeles, CA, is vice president, marketing for the Applebee’s brand and brings skills including brand strategy, executive leadership, and marketing to the board. Plugues has been an ABTA donor since April 2001, following her father’s passing from GBM. She is also a former member of the ABTA endurance program, Team Breakthrough.

Bob Kruchten


Bob Kruchten, of Mount Prospect, IL, is a sales manager at Extreme Reach, a leading advertising technology company. He has strong skills in communications and fundraising, and has been advocating for the ABTA for 19 years in tribute to his best friend, Paul Fabbri, who lost his 10-year battle with GBM in 1998. Kruchten accepted the ABTA’s Joel A. Gingras Jr. Award in 2015 on behalf of the Paul Fabbri Memorial Fund.